The Overcomers: Surviving child marriage

Aug 05, 2020
Benesh*, 14, lives in Afghanistan. Her parents sold her into marriage when she was 11 and she now has an 18-month old son. Benesh lives in a displacement camp with her new family, forced from home because of conflict and drought. Benesh tells her story in her own words.

I didn’t know that my parents had sold me. I thought I was going to a picnic. My parents got $3000 USD as a bride price for me and they forced me to get married. I was 11 years old.

My husband’s family kept saying you are married now. You won’t be seeing your family anymore; we will be your parents and that man is your husband. There was no wedding ceremony.

I couldn’t stop crying. Some girls in the neighbourhood took me to a garden to play together to help me feel more comfortable. Gradually I got used to the new situation. 

After a few months I felt sick. I was vomiting and had a headache. They took me to a doctor and the doctor told my husband’s family that I was pregnant. 

I didn’t know what it meant to be pregnant. 

Watch Benesh share her story in this video:

One of my neighbours explained to me that I would be getting a big belly and that would mean that I was going to have a baby. I was afraid. 

It is difficult to look after a baby. I see girls my age playing outside, but I have my own child to play with. 
If I have a daughter, I want her to be educated and not like me, an illiterate person. I would allow her to grow up and decide whether to get married or not. 

I haven’t seen my family for three years, and I miss them a lot. I would like to see them. If I had the chance, I would tell them not to marry off their young girls like me.

Benesh shared her story at a camp medical clinic during a prenatal visit for her second child. World Vision works with local leaders and families in Afghanistan to end early marriage and keep girls in school. However, World Vision research warns an additional four million girls are at risk of child marriage in the next two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These children face dangerous threats, but they have incredible strength and resiliency to overcome these dark challenges to survive, recover and build a new future. Learn more about how you can help prevent more stories like Benesh. 

*name changed to protect her identity. 

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